Become a Virtual Assistant in a Few Steps
Work at own pace, from home.
Warning: this is not an exhaustive list, just a guide to help you starting your project.
Being self-employed, having the chance to be independent is great and has plenty of benefits! But it has also some elements you should consider.
Your Expertise Field
Before starting your business, it’s really important to get to know you and review key elements in order to target your expertise field.
Make a non-exhaustive list of your skills, qualities and experiences. Put everything that comes through our head, as long as you’re staying honest with yourself.
Then, target activities and experiences you like or liked, which ones you want to include into your business. Define your expertise level. You totally can integrate a service you don’t know about, but do not neglect trainings. It will help you to provide a great quality service to your customers.
« Start With Why ».
When you become a virtual assistant, you take the responsibility of working on your own, therefore handling a REAL business. It’s pretty serious! Finding your Why will allow you to understand your inner-motivation and then, realize your project. If you don’t target your motivations, you probably will give up as soon as the first obstacles come up. It’s an important step so take the necessary time to answer this question.
Your particuly Why.
In his book, « Self-discipline for entrepreneurs », Martin Meadows sets out 3 types of motivation:
- Extrinsic motivation
It corresponds to external motivating elements like property (getting a big car, a beautiful house or a brand new cell phone), treating yourself with wonderful trips, increasing the zeros on your bank account.
- Intrinsic motivation
It corresponds to inner-motivations like desire to reach goals, independence or freedom.
- Pro-social motivation
It corresponds to social motivation. It means, doing it for You, but also to find the benefit you can give to the others.
I highly recommend you to read Martin Meadows’ book « Self-discipline for entrepreneurs: How to develop and maintain self-discipline as an entrepreneur », Auto-edition, 2018.
Your Business Why
Your business Why is closely connected to yourself. It is your reflect, your soul. It’s not just about offering your services to your customers, it’s about to identify Why you’re offering these services and what is your added value.
How do you stand out from your competitors? Find your added value will help you to be preferred by clients.Here are some possible solutions to help you to define your Why. Identify and define:
- Your values (core of 5 would be enough)
- Your business priorities
- Your goals on short, medium and long term
- The image you want to reflect to your clientele
I encourage you to watch the Ted Talks of Simon Sineck, « How great leaders inspire action »
Here is also a tool to help you to model the structure of your business
Business Model Canvas
Well check your business status and referred laws, depending on the country or province you live in.
Don’t forget to not record your taxes! Just so you know, in Québec, a « little supplier » doesn’t have to collect TPS and TVQ on his/her sales as long as they don’t exceed $30,000 in a given calendar quarter or in the four preceding calendar quarters.1 Laws aren’t similar everywhere, well inquire about it!.
1 Source: « Taxes on products and services (TPS) and taxes on Quebec’s sales (TVQ) ». On the Quebec government’s website, Quebec Business
Since you’re offering a service, it’s important to establish rules, your rules, between you and your customer. Even if I highly recommend you to confirm your models contract with a lawyer, you can use and adjust models that you can find on the Internet.
Your Business Name
Choose a name for your business. It can be your name and first name or an acronym or any word. Be careful if it’s not your name, it has to be related to your activity and catchy.**Be careful with the laws of your country or province. Sometimes, certain rules are imposed, depending on the domiciliation of your head office**
Take care of them because they are the ones who will talk about you. Be pro-active and reactive. Do not hesitate to offer sponsorships.Feel free to choose your clientele! You have the chance to be independent and having control on your business. Be careful to not accept all mandates because you’re desperate and/or scared to “loose” a client. Sometimes, it’s better to subcontract or refer him/her to another colleague instead of taking the risk to not comply with your client’s expectations.
As a self-employed/freelancer, it’s your duty to find the best organization so you won’t be overwhelmed. Organization is the pet peeve of yours? Don’t panic! There are a lot of tools and articles on this subject. Train yourself, go to conferences, read.
Your equipment will depend on your expertise field. However, a virtual assistant usually needs a desk, a screen, landline coverage, an internet access and an Office pack. Do not hesitate to invest in programs which will help you to answer effectively to your clients needs. Nevertheless, watch your budget and check if it’s better to subcontract or refer another colleague in case the request doesn’t match with your field of expertise.
No matter if you’re publishing it or not, it’s important to establish your own grid fee. Do not hesitate to enquire at your competitors; it will give you a little idea. Adjust your prices, depending on your expertise field.
Choose your pricing strategy. For example, you could have a fixed time rate, no matter which service you’re offering or you could apply a price depending on the chosen service. You’re the one who gets to decide!
Your Payment Methods and Bills
Identify your payment methods. You have plenty of options but, be assured you’re protecting your interest and your clients’ interest. Make sure they’ve signed a form when you’re using bank information, for example; or put a mention in your contracts.
Be consistent with your bills, and don’t hesitate to notice all the available payment methods and the delay required for each of them
Even if it’s not mandatory, it’s advisable to have a website for your business. Your website is your showcase, your business image. You have to, at least, indicate your services, your value proposition and a way for your clients to contact you.
You can dedicate a page for presenting yourself, your experience and your expertise. Feel free to indicate your grid fee, depending on your services and your marketing strategy.
There are now many platforms where you can easily create your website, at low costs.
To name a few
Even if it’s not required, it’s advisable to use them to promote your business. Here are a few ideas :
- Page Facebook
- Posts Instagram
- Profil LinkedIn
- Compte twitter
- Vlog via Youtube
I also recommend you to join professionals groups or forums in your domain. Facebook, for example, is full of these. Be active by responding to published posts.
Keep in mind that during the first weeks, months, years will be tough and easily demoralising. Creating a quality network takes time, a lot of time. Don’t expect to be sifting through offers during the first weeks. Competition is tough and it requires patience to get to be known.You must persist and do not give up!
Love Your Project!
Without love, you won’t be able to keep your motivation, climbing mountains of challenges that can stand in the way.